People: Prince Harry ‘wants to give Archie the childhood he always wanted’

Sussexes in South Africa

I will agree with the premise that both Prince Harry and Prince William were traumatized by their childhoods, and that both are still dealing with that trauma in very different ways. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I cover the stories around Robert Lacey’s book, Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult. I think William dealt with his childhood trauma by becoming a rage monster, a petty little tyrant, and a controlling a–hole. I think he was drawn to the Middleton family (more than he was drawn to Kate) because they were the supportive family who made him the center of attention always, unlike his own family. Now, Harry reacted differently, as we’ve seen. So it’s interesting to contemplate… is Harry actually giving Archie the childhood he always wanted?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been able to spend more time together as a family over the past few months since moving to California amid the ongoing pandemic.

“In the absence of COVID, we would be traveling and working more,” Meghan said on Oct. 11 during a conversation with activist Malala Yousafzai for International Day of the Girl. Added Harry: “We were both there for [Archie’s] first steps. His first run, his first fall, his first everything.”

An insider tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that the new parents have been enjoying time with their 1-year-old son Archie at their new home in Montecito, California. “They are both extremely attentive parents. Harry wants to give Archie the childhood he always wanted,” the insider says. “They spend a ton of time outside, and both Harry and Meghan love to play—all the private space is a dream for them.”

Harry previously opened up about wanting a different life for his family. In February, he gave an emotional speech at a private JPMorgan event, revealing that he didn’t regret the couple’s design to step down as senior royals and that he didn’t want Meghan and Archie to go through what he did as a child. Harry previously revealed that he and Archie have been spending plenty of time outdoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve got a little space outside, which I’m fortunate enough to have so I need to get him playing some Rugby League,” Harry said in a video chat in August. “Our little man is our number one priority, but our work after that is the second priority and we’re just trying to do everything we can to do our part to make the world a better place.”

[From People]

Was Harry’s dream childhood a simpler-yet-privileged life in California, without the white-hot spotlight of the British press invading his family? Probably. I always think about how Diana was seriously considering a move to America in the year before her death. Do you think she shared that dream with Harry? Do you think there was always a seed of that in the back of his mind, that one day he would get out of the toxic palace complex and be free with his little own family? Perhaps it was always written, the fact that Harry would one day tell the establishment to f–k off.

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83 Responses to “People: Prince Harry ‘wants to give Archie the childhood he always wanted’”

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  1. Sofia says:

    Both of them have Archie in mind when saying/doing anything. Meghan even said in her Fortune talk yesterday that she’s doing a lot of this with Archie in mind.

  2. Elizabeth Regina says:

    Now we know precisely why he left that institution.

  3. lanne says:

    The royal reporters who think this guy should slink back to the UK and bow under the tyranny of his brother are foul creatures. He owes the rota nothing. he owes the UK nothing. Anything he might have owed them for the privilege of his upbringing was paid in full the day they forced him to walk behind his mother’s casket and comfort a bunch of the same wailing strangers who ate up all of the tabloid reports that tormented his mother. Any debt he has to the UK has been paid in full. He gave them his childhood, his service through the military, and return, the media and his own damn family tried to torment the love his life into a miscarriage. They tried to destroy the only family who actually loves him for who he is, and not what he represents.

    I believe that Harry and Meghan will be held up as a shining example for people to cast off their toxic families. They are an inspiration to anyone who is forced to choose between toxic family and a brand new future with a partner of their choosing. Nopefully, more people will do this instead of suffering needlessly as scapegoats and whipping boys. Freedom must feel so good to both of them!

    It’s really providential that Meghan’s shitty paternal family gives her something in common with Harry. I was mortified w/shame for her during her wedding week, when her hateful siblings and awful father tried to destroy her happiness. Ironically, a woman with a happy family background would have had a much more difficult time understanding why Harry felt such a need to leave. (I have an amazing family, and it would be really hard for me to understand cutting family off.) The Windsors are just the Markles in castles. Harry really did find the perfect wife for him, and I believe he’s had a foot out the door for years.

    • Bella DuPont says:

      Your first paragraph is so on point. They’ve taken so much from this couple, especially Harry, and some people are still looking for more from them. It really makes me see red.

      To the never satisfied agitators: You are not taking a single thing more from them, jog on. ✌✌

    • Suzy S says:

      Excellent post! Having had to cut off a toxic family after decades of trying to get along (only to be hurt and abused over and over again), I completely get why they did what they did, and I applaud them for putting their son’s happiness first!

    • Freddy says:

      YES! YES! YES! Meghan, having toxic family members and being a fully formed woman, simply was not having the madness that is attached to being a royal..and I think she gave Harry the strength to say “No more.” I love how so many Americans (and Brits of color) are applauding their escape, while Brits and they’re vicious tabloids say “good riddance” but speak about them incessantly. It’s truly nuts.

    • Molly says:

      “Anything he might have owed them for the privilege of his upbringing was paid in full the day they forced him to walk behind his mother’s casket and comfort a bunch of the same wailing strangers who ate up all of the tabloid reports that tormented his mother.”
      OMG, YES!

  4. (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

    I’ve thought about that, too…Diana wanting to come here….I’d be sure she said something to her kids. PWBIGT would’ve scoffed, but I can so see Harry excited by it. I hope he feels he’s living his mother’s dream, and by extension, feels her presence with him and his family every day. While I know Diana understood “duty”, she’d know Harry tried, and I think she’d be cheering him on, thrilled he escaped “the gray men” who made her life hell.

  5. Who ARE These People? says:

    “Was Harry’s dream childhood a simpler-yet-privileged life in California”?

    I don’t know about him, but this is still my dream adulthood!

    • Mac says:

      Harry and William’s version of normal is the artisto country life and they are both living it.

      • Still_Sarah says:

        @ MAC : Exactly. I think that when Harry and William talk about a “normal” life, the aristocracy life is what they both mean. Not normal like you and me paying bills, saving for retirement, how will we afford college for the kids normal.

      • Original Jenns says:

        Agree. That’s one thing I wish they’d correct. Their “normal” is not normal for the majority of the world, and to say anything otherwise is incredible privilege. I was happy to see that Harry mentioned the outdoor space he has, he is fortunate to have. Not enough children have a safe outdoor place to play and grow, and it’s good to remember that.

      • Becks1 says:

        Agree generally, but is Harry going on about a “normal” life? I don’t see it here in these quotes, I know he has spoken before about not wanting Archie to have a “royal” life, but that’s different.

        But even if he is talking about “normal” – we all know it will be a lot more privileged than the average person, but at least he’s taking steps to ensure that it will be more normal than it would have been had they stayed working royals in London. That’s what bugs me about William and Kate – I feel they use the whole normal façade to escape work (oh, we’re just out in the country raising our normal family! we cant work! we’re hands on parents!) and when William says normal he just means….I don’t know what.

      • NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

        @Becks1 The expectation of normal after spending 35 years in the royal fishbowl is relative. They are doing just fine. He’s out and he and Meghan are hands on parents. Archie will probably be more adjusted to the real world than his cousins in England.

      • Max says:

        @ Original Jenns idk tbh I think Harry would have loved to be born truly normal in no excess with a loving father and mother living on an average salary instead of what he went through. Obviously that can never be him, but if he could do it again I honestly think that’s what he would’ve chosen.

    • mynameispearl says:

      I always thought Harry would end up in Botswana or Kenya or somewhere like that.

      • Amy Bee says:

        Harry has always said if he wasn’t a Prince he would be a park ranger in an African country.

      • Myra says:

        Same. I got the impression that he would have ended up in one of the southern African countries had he left the Firm before marrying. I’m sure having Archie has changed his outlook somewhat.

      • bettyrose says:

        Archie and the pandemic have changed their outlook. Remember, they were still in Canada when the shut down began. They rushed to California before the borders closed. I suspect without the pandemic they would have spent some of the last few months traveling in Africa, exploring options for working there some of the time traveling between, say, Botswana and L.A.

  6. Becks1 says:

    I do think Archie is going to have a very nice childhood – imagine pictures of the family at Disneyland or visiting the grand canyon, lol. But I def think Archie was their main motivator in a) leaving the UK/royal family and b) buying that particular house – he has so much outdoor space, that gorgeous pool, the gorgeous playground – he can run around and spend most of his time outside.

    Obviously his childhood is going to be very privileged, but I don’t get the vibe Harry is insisting on Archie having a “normal” childhood, like William and Kate insist for their kids – he just wants him out of the glare of the press and the pressures of the royal family. If he’s never going to be a working royal, why should he grow up in that toxic environment?

    • Mignionette says:

      I think part of Harry’s idea of normal is to forgo the spectacle of Royalty. I remember watching an interview where he was affectionately describing the way Diana used to dress him as a child in out dated clothes and weird shoes.

      I think that whilst he looks back on that with fondness for his mother, he also likely recognized that is not something he wants for Archie. Especially as it preserves the Never-land aspect of the Royal Bubble.

      Again it’s interesting to note that both Harry and Meghan are both over playing up to the whole Royal Mystique, because it benefits them in no way, because protocol is just another stick that the RR’s used to beat them up. The real protocol that was broken was a black person marrying into the RF so after that the jig was up.

      • Becks1 says:

        Good points all around – I cant take Kate seriously when she and William talk about raising normal children but dress them in outfits that are 30 year olds because she’s trying to cosplay her dead MIL or whatever.

    • bettyrose says:

      Any child lucky enough to have good health, loving parents (bonus for happily married parents), and financial stability is set up well to have a good life. Doesn’t take Disneyland or extreme wealth, but jeez a happy, functional home seems almost as elusive as great wealth for many many children.

  7. Aa says:

    I think that Harry becoming fully aware that the reason the press and a section of the public was so aggressive about demanding to see Archie immediately after birth was because of the need to immediately judge Archie’s character by the color of his skin was a breaking point. Even upon his birth it was obvious the press was setting the bad Archie versus angelic Cambridge kids narrative, and I’m sure that triggered Harry looking back on his own life. Meghan’s recent remark about not being willing to accept certain hardships for your child that you were willing to endure for yourself holds true for Harry here as well. On the other hand Harry had a father, grandmother, and brother who may have loved him, but we’re perfectly willing to leave and use Harry as the scapegoat.

    • lanne says:

      I call that hate wrapped in the trappings of love. I think you really have to deep down hate someone to treat them like this. Like there’s a part of them that thinks Harry “deserves” what he’s getting. That’s what I mean when I say I think harry’s family hates him. They hate the idea of him being happy and free of them, which translates, ultimately, to hate for him. If this is how the royals show their “love,” then their hate is a much better deal.

      • NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

        I understand the sentiment Lanne but all it truly takes is not knowing better. Elizabeth scapegoated Margaret for years. Charles had Andrew. What was happening to Harry was completely normal in the eyes of the heirs. Margaret and Andrew both put up with it. Mind you, one deserved being scapegoated more than the others and has his own stupidity to blame.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        No lanne, they hate Meghan, not Harry. They think of Harry as a wayward child who is not doing his duty, and by punishing him they will bring him to heel, but so far it’s not working.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    I think Harry joining the Army delayed the inevitable that is, leaving the Royal Family. I think the treatment of Meghan and the predictable treatment of Archie only served to convince him that Royal life was not for him. His moving to California has to do with the fact he’s married to Meghan but if he had not met her, I think he still would have left the country.

  9. S808 says:

    I’ve always thought that Harry means literally anything calmer than his shitshow of a childhood and young adulthood when he says “normal” and yes, Archie will absolutely have that. Kids of famous people can absolutely grow up out of the public eye. Doesn’t mean they aren’t privileged but there’s a *slightly* better chance of them not being messed up children/young adults.

    I’m also really glad that Archie plays outside a lot. It reminds me of my childhood before the huge tech era.

  10. fluffy_bunny says:

    They can still continue their good works and have a private normal childhood for Archie. They don’t want their private life publicized which is their right. They can still have a public life that is about charity and worthwhile causes and keep their son out of the media.

  11. L4frimaire says:

    Can see why he wants different choices, especially since the children of the secondary royals seem hobbled as they grow up. They have some of the privileges of royal connections, but no real careers or independence. I think right now, it would be difficult for Archie because they made it difficult for his parents. I feel like there is so much focus on Archie from the media that is just weird.

    • lanne says:

      They want their pound of flesh from that kid. They want their pictures, and feel they DESERVE their pictures of him. I worry what those idiots will do to try to get their pictures (the pictures they would have had, had they not chased the Sussexes out!)

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        I’m fine with what we get. A post about charity with him for his birthday and a Christmas card picture. I hope as he gets older and goes to school that the press is respectful and doesn’t try and stalk him and that all of the parents of the kids he comes in contact with respect the Sussexes wish for privacy for Archie.

      • lanne says:

        H and M will have to create a tight circle around themselves filled with loyal people, because the press will not leave that kid alone. They will stalk the parents of his little classmates, try to sneak cameras into his preschool, and compromise the safety of the teachers and staff trying to get info about Archie. We all know its coming. I think they will start posting more pictures soon to demonetize the value of Archie pictures–keep him in plain clothes, or dress him in the same clothes over and over any time he goes out.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think that was part of the reason why they wanted to move to a wealthy area. They want Archie to mingle with rich kids and kids of other celebs – not as a snobbish thing, but as a way to de-value him, so to speak. If most of the kids in your class are the children of multi millionaires or celebrities, the interest in Archie overall is going to be less (from the other students and the teachers) and the parents are actually going to be invested in protecting Archie’s privacy as well as their kids privacy.

      • Oh says:

        @LANNE But why the press doesn’t leave Archie alone? He doesn’t live on that island anymore and I expect that he will attend school in the US, so why is the press not paying attention to the three Cambridge children and stalking them since they are the future of the monarchy? Why do they care about a private citizen who is in the 7th line to the throne, not even living in their country?

      • Anne Call says:

        Yeah, I think he will be pretty much left alone in Montecito. Any paparazzi would really stick out and the locals, who are well off and some famous, would not put up with it. He’s probably enjoying our “fall” right now. It’s going to be around mid 80’s all weekend and the beach is perfect right now.

      • lanne says:

        @Oh, The British media is diseased. They will stalk Archie as “payback” to Harry and Meghan for the “crime” of leaving the UK. They even tried to rile up Trump against them.

        Living in a wealthy environment serves the Sussexesin a lot of ways–they will be among parents who have a vested interest in maintaining privacy for their own kids, and those kids will understand what it’s like to be in a high-profile family–Archie will be among peers. (Hopefully those won’t be the only children he encounters, but it’s good for kids to know other kids who have similar situations to theirs). Their security needs will be better met in those communities, without endangering others. Archie attending a public school with regular kids would put all of those kids in danger due to the paparrazzi. We’ve seen stories of paparrazzi stalking celebs, chasing them through red lights. It could very well be that the next person who dies in a paparrazi aided accident will be a private citizen. Meghan and Harry don’t want to inflict that trauma on other families–it’s also why the children of US presidents need to go to private school–for the safety of the other kids, not the president’s kid.

        Harry and Meghan will likely have to deal with British paparrazi for the rest of their lives. As will Archie.

  12. RoyalBlue says:

    The childhood he is referring to is the love and connection that he never felt with his parents. Part of what Harry said that is not in the article above is that he was there for so many of Archie’s firsts. his first steps, his first run, his first fall etc. The joy and pride he took in those simple events is significant in that his own absent father was likely never there for his firsts. Going to all his school events, lots of close family time, playing games together etc., these are the things that Harry pines for.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      I don’t think that Harry didn’t have that love and connection with both parents. He obviously had that in Diana but didn’t have that with Charles. I remember pictures of Diana participating in the boys field days at school. I think she tried to give them as normal as a life as possible. This makes Harry want to be a very involved father.

    • MissySnow says:

      Diana made a point to remind Charles on how he felt not seeing his parents for months at a time and that is why they were both hands on parents. The issue with William and Harry pertains to the fact that their father was having extra marital affairs and was not in love with their mother, but jealous of her overall popularity while he was the heir to the throne. If Charles had simply ended all of his bed hopping relationships PRIOR to and AFTER he met Diana and realized that her popularity was a good thing for them and the monarchy, I doubt William or Harry would have the issues that they had growing up.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Unfortunately, the Windsors produce immature and entitled heirs. David (Edward VIII) was considered to be emotionally immature to a devastating degree + both Charles and William are very selfish and entitled.

  13. Lizzie says:

    It’s kind of heartbreaking. Thinking back to when the boys were young it would have been impossible to believe their childhood was anything but ideal prior to her death. I had no idea back then how much was covered up.

  14. BnLurkN4eva says:

    I think it was very scarring for both of them, but Harry at least seems to understand that damage was done and is attempting to not repeat history with his own child, which is why leaving was essential.

    William who knows the dynamic of the heir and spare possibly thought he could prevent that happening to his children by serving up another to play the role of the spare vs his children – Archie. The picture that has begun to form of William shows him to be someone capable of that kind of thinking. Even thinking this makes him a good parent for looking out for them like that. Perhaps that was W/K’s plan, which is why they were so put out when H/M left the way they did. William wanted them exiled not out of his grasp. Maybe that’s what that section of the Tatler was referring to when they said, Kate felt H/M threw her children under the bus. Harry has shown himself to be smart enough to clearly see the trap laid out for his child and is doing everything to avoid that for Archie.

  15. Oh says:

    I think that some people here lack the ability to understand. Do yall expect a child whose his parents are wealthy and his father especially prince that he will struggle to pay his bills? And who said that “normal people” must struggle to pay their bills? This depends on the family budget. I think Harry’s concept of normal life is that Archie will have a private life away from the media and public life. unlike Harry, Archie won’t be photographed by the photographers on his first day in nursery or school. also, when Archie grows up into his teens and do stupid things, maybe like what Harry did when he was a teen -who knows? Maybe lool- he won’t be photographed and harassed by the paparazzi and his actions won’t be covered on the front pages of British tabloids almost daily.

    • bettyrose says:

      I suspect there may be photogs about when Archie starts school, but otherwise, yes to all that.

    • MsIam says:

      I think he means his son will be able to move to another country without it being considered a constitutional crisis. And every butcher, baker and tabloid will not have a say in his schooling, his career and most of all his choice of spouse or if he chooses no spouse at all. In other words Archie will get to be free, or as free as anyone can be in this world.

  16. Kynesgrove89 says:

    You can just tell how much love he has for little Archie. Megan too. They seems to be loving parents who want the best for their son. Fatherhood changed him for the better.

  17. Vanessa says:

    I think we all know what the British tabloids had Plans for Archie would have been made to be a villain while the Lilly white Cambridge’s kids were made to be perfect angels . Harry and Meghan did the right thing by leaving they are protected Archie from the royal family and the royal reporters Archie would have spent years being scapegoated for the Cambridge’s kids .

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      Yes, they would have used every stereotype out there to uplift the Cambridge children at Archie’s expense.

  18. CC says:

    There’s something really poetic about Harry and Meghan’s story.

    Meghan with Harry at a similar age Diana passed on.

    Stand By Me at their wedding foreshadows everything they’re going through now.

    Harry being accused of being an illegitimate child and having to live with those rumours…and them having a son (Archie Harrison that means Harry’s son) that looks exactly like him, at least for now, especially since we know they’ll accuse Meghan of having an affair if the baby comes out dark (which is probably why Harry wanted Harrison to be the name).

    I pray their higher power continues to smile on them, and their hearts are pure. The RF is genuinely such a toxic place and I’m so glad Harry has his bubble now.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      I believe the Harrison isn’t meant as a nod to Harry but a nod to someone he served with. I remember a story about the name around the time he was born. They also considered Archibald and calling him Archie but decided it was too formal.

      • Oh says:

        No, that is not true. Harrison is meant as a nod to Harry. 8 days after Archie was born, Harry visited the Oxford Children’s Hospital and there he met a child named Harrison. Harry said to the child’s mother, “Harrison; son of Harry.” So it is clear that the name Harrison is meant as a nod to Harry

      • Oh says:

        And the story that Harry named his son as a nod to someone he served with was related to Archie, not Harrison.The name of the man who served with Harry in Afghanistan is Tom Archer-Burton, and he was nicknamed Archie.

      • Ripley says:

        I always thought Archie was a nod to Major Tom Archer-Burton and Harrison to Harry (son of). They’ve picked a lovely place to raise their family and I hope they succeed in everything.

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        Sorry everyone. I got the story backwards. I only get my H&M news from here.

  19. Mel says:

    I don’t know if he always wanted to move to the US, but I truly believe that he’s been plotting getting out of the Firm since the day his Mother died. I think he was waiting to have a family and I think he would have been this move with whoever he married.

    • Oh says:

      Sometimes I blame Harry for why he hadn’t had the courage to get out of the institution for years before meeting Meghan, I blamed him for letting himself be the scapegoat and the clown of the family.

      • Myra says:

        Imagine the kind of guilt trip his family would have put him through back then. The idea of duty has likely been drilled into these boys from very young (god forbid if they are doing it now to the Cambridge kids). If Harry has ever seriously talked about leaving, he would have been made to feel that he was deserting his duties (we see this being played out right now). Perhaps, even, he lacked the confidence in himself back then, but now with a wife and child his priority has shifted towards the health and safety of his family.

      • BnLurkN4eva says:

        I completely get this and in his defense I think he did try to get out after the military and his grandmother talked him into staying. That used to be the story until Meghan came along, now they pretend to forget that story and focus on blaming Meghan for his leaving.

        It would have been easier for Meghan though if he had left before meeting her, but I doubt he could have ever gotten out clean. William needs Harry the scapegoat and while it might have been more difficult to smear him the way Meghan has been smeared, he would have leaked on him, which would have been just as bothersome.

      • MissySnow says:

        I don’t see it as a lack of courage, because Harry was going to leave years ago and Charles talked him out of it. Harry and Meghan would still be Senior Royal’s if not for the racist media and the smear / jealously campaigns that came from within palace walls. Let’s not forget, H&M wanted a part-time role and it was shot down, so they packed up their family and called it a day in order to do their own thing. H&M may one day come back as Senior Royal’s when the Queen dies and work for Charles, but leave once again when he dies. At the end of the day, it is after all Harry and Meghan’s lives to live as they see fit!

  20. The Recluse says:

    I will always love that photo of Harry holding Archie and the baby is in that super cute woolen cap. Always brings a smile to my face.

  21. Nev says:

    One of your best posts.

  22. Mariane says:

    I agree with others about harry wanting to give Archie what he couldn’t have. Its really what every loving parent wants for their children. Harry has always said that he doesnt like living in the royal fish bowl and when he saw how Meghan unlike others wasn’t that obsessed with living the royal soap opera(dressing up in button coats, cutting ribbons..) he excreted himself with his family from the vibers nest.
    The whining tabloids and courtiers to this day are pleading with him to go back to continue taking their beating. They underestimated how much he’d fight for his family

    • paddingtonjr says:

      ITA. Every parent wants what is best for their children and to right the “wrongs” of their childhood. For Harry, I think it is more complicated than most. He didn’t want his children to be judged from birth because of their lineage and titles, as he was, and he didn’t want his children to be judged by the color of their skin and race, as Meghan has been. Archie will have a life without the expectations put on his cousins and can choose his path.

  23. Pat says:

    I am so glad the Sussex got out. They deserve to live their happiness. I think the charity work they do is wonderful and heartfelt. I read an article that said that now that Harry is gone Will can finally step into his own space. Supposedly Will is now receiving roles that were considered a better fit for Harry and Will supposedly felt he was in Harry’s shadow, whereas now he can finally be the People’s Prince. Every word of that article tells me that Will was full of jealousy, simply petty jealousy that he does not have the natural dynamic that Harry has with adults and children. Meghan and Harry together simply double the dynamics and the Cambridge’s have none of it. They drove Harry and his family out for petty reasons all around. Something is wrong with that group, I get that they are toxic in every way and they are racist but there’s something deeply unstable about them in general. The world couldn’t print enough money for me to ever want anything to do with that family, I honestly believe Harry is the only human among the senior royals. That family has been and is a breeding ground of dysfunction.

  24. CC says:

    It’s going to be around mid 80’s all weekend and the beach is perfect right now.

    That sounda so nice, if it wasn’t for earthquakes I would so live there.

  25. Bread and Circuses says:

    Aw, I love them. I wish they’d decided to stay in Canada — if England doesn’t appreciate them, we will!